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Runaway Brewery, American Brown Ale

I can’t think of a style of beer I enjoy drinking more than the American brown ale, a perfect balance between sweet malt and refreshing citrusy hops.  The American brown is a cousin to our own English brown ales but with the addition of slightly more sweet biscuity malts, a higher ABV and lashings of American hops.  Whilst neither as bitter nor as hoppy as an IPA, they will give most pale ales a run for their money.

I first fell in love with this style when I visited Mikkeller's Copenhagen bar.  Amongst the convoluted names such as Beer Geek Brunch Weasel or Wheat Is The New Hops, it was the rather unassuming Brown Ale that caught my eye.  Out of the many beers I sampled that day with rich additions such as avocado leaves or black turtle beans, nothing quite compared to the hoppy nectar that was the American Brown.

Exchanging the cultural backdrop of Copenhagen’s Vesterbro district, for that of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, this week’s #BeerBods from the Runaway Brewery is an American Brown to rival them all.

Established only this summer, founders and school friends Mark Welsby (pictured above) and Darren Clayson have been working flat out to hone their core range on their 5.5 bbl brewing kit.  After leaving their boring day jobs (hence the name "Runaway"), partaking a short course at York Brewery and doing the odd day in local microbreweries, they gained all the relevant knowledge and experience to set up and run their very own outfit.  They claim the learning curve is steep, and they have a long way to go, but the process is very rewarding all the same.

Onto the beer and as with most beers of this style, it pours with a slightly murky unassuming brown hue that can look a little disappointing next to a velvety stout or a golden pale.  But herein lies the true quality; its modest appearance gives away to toffee malt, bursts of citrus and sweet berries - a well constructed malt backbone ensuring this flavour endures on the palette - a truly fantastic beer.        

In addition to the spectacular American brown, Runaway’s Smoked Porter and IPA are definitely worth tracking down, but be wary as these are both very drinkable and it’s difficult to resist sinking a bottle or five -

For more information on Runaway Brewery follow them on Twitter at @RunawayBrewery (Website coming soon)


This week's write up is by Simon James, Co-founder of Hop & Barley, a real ale and craft beer publication.  For more information be sure to follow us on twitter @hopandbarley or alternatively drop us an email

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